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Baquiran, Teresa Lean Z.

Bino, Charmine B.
Borlagdan, Paolo P.
Communication systems are widely used in our everyday life even in the past when we still
dont have improved and high technology systems for communicating. These systems are
composed of a wide range of systems including analog and digital systems. Communication
systems are systems that send information from one point to another over relatively long distances.
Some of the categories of communication systems are radio, television, telephony, radar,
navigation, satellite, data (digital), and telemetry. In order to send information, many
communication systems use either amplitude modulation (AM) or frequency modulation (FM).
Other modulation methods are phase modulation, pulse modulation, and frequency shift keying
The aim of this section of the study is to first describe basic heterodyne receivers; to define
AM and FM; and finally, to discuss the major functional blocks of an AM receiver and an FM
Receivers that are based on the superheterodyne principle are standard in one form or
another in most types of communication systems and are found in systems such as standard
broadcast radio, stereo, and television. Superheterodyne receiver uses frequency mixing to convert
a received signal to a fixed IF (intermediate frequency) which is more convenient to process than
the original radio carrier frequency.
A method of sending audible information such as voice or music, by electromagnetic waves
that are broadcast through the atmosphere is called amplitude modulation or AM. In AM, the
carrier, a signal with frequency fc, the amplitude is varied according to modulating signal which
can be audio signal. Figure 17-1 found in Floyds Electronic Devices 7th edition book shows an
example of an amplitude modulated signal. The carrier frequency allows the receiver to be turned
to a specific known frequency. The resulting AM waveform contains the carrier frequency, the
upper-side frequency which is just equal to the carrier frequency plus the modulating frequency
(fc + fm), and a lower-side frequency which is equal to the carrier frequency minus the modulating
frequency (fc fm).

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Superheterodyne AM Receiver
The illustration shown in Figure 17-3 shows the different parts of a superheterodyne
AM receiver and the signal flow through it.

The frequency band for AM broadcast receivers is 540 kHz to 1640 kHz. As we can see
from the figure above, the different parts of the superheterodyne AM receiver are illustrated and
how the signal is processed on each part. The antenna picks up all radiated signals and feeds them
into the RF amplifier. These picked up signals are very small. The RF amplifier can be adjusted or
tuned to select and amplify any carrier frequency within the AM broadcast band. Only the selected
frequency and its two side bands pass through the amplifier. Local oscillator is the circuit that
generates a steady sine wave at a frequency 455 kHz above the selected RF frequency. The mixer
has two inputs that comes from the local oscillator and the RF amplifier. The signals from these
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two are mixed by a nonlinear process called heterodyning to produce a sum and difference
frequencies. For the IF or the intermediate amplifier, the input is the 455 kHz AM signal, a copy
of the original AM carrier signal except that the frequency has been lowered to 455 kHz. This also
significantly increase the level of the signal. The detector recovers the modulating signal or the
audio signal from the 455 kHz intermediate frequency. The output of the detector is just the audio
signal since at this point the IF is no longer needed. The audio and power amplifier amplifies the
detected audio signal and drives the speaker to produce sound. Finally, the automatic gain control
or the AGC provides a dc level out of the detector that is proportional to the strength of the received
signal. This level is fed back to the IF amplifier and sometimes to the mixer and RF amplifier to
adjust the gains so as to maintain constant signal levels throughout the system over the wide range
of incoming carrier signal strengths.
In frequency modulation (FM), the modulating signal (audio) varies the frequency of a
carrier as opposed to the amplitude, as in the case of AM. Figure 17-4 shows the basic frequency

The standard FM broadcast band consists of carrier frequencies from the 88 MHz to 108
MHz, which is significantly higher that AM.

Superheterodyne FM receiver
The FM receiver is similar to the AM receiver in many ways, but there are
significant differences. Figure 17-6 shows the different parts of an FM receiver and how
the signal flow through it.

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RF amplifier for this receiver is capable of amplifying any frequency between 88

MHz and 108 MHz. It is highly selective so that it passes only the selected carrier frequency and
significant side-band frequencies that contain audio. The local oscillator produces a sine wave at
a frequency 10.7 MHz above the selected RF. The mixer in this figure is the same with the AM
receiver except that its output is 10.7 MHz FM signal regardless of the RF carrier frequency. IF
amplifier amplifies the 10.7 MHz FM signal. The limiter removes the unwanted variations in the
amplitude of the FM signal as it comes out of the IF amplifier and produces a constant amplitude
FM output at the 10.7 MHz intermediate frequency. The discriminator has the same function with
the detector in AM receiver which recovers the audio from the FM signal. For certain reasons, the
higher modulating frequencies are amplified more than the lower frequency at the transmitting end
of an FM system by a process called preemphasis. The de-emphasis circuit in the FM circuit bring
the high-frequency audio signals back to the proper amplitude relationship with the lower
frequencies. The audio and power amplifiers have same function as in AM system and therefore
can be shared in a dual AM/FM configuration.
The linear multiplier is a key circuit in many types of communication systems. In this
section of communication circuits our aim is to discuss the function of a linear multiplier, to
describe the multiplier quadrants and transfer characteristics, and show some application of
For a four-quadrant multiplier can accept any of the four possible input polarity
combinations and produce an output with corresponding polarity. The four-quadrant multiplier is
shown in Figure 17-7.

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For the multiplier transfer characteristics for a typical IC linear multiplier of two input
voltages Vx and Vy . Values of Vx run along the horizontal axis and the values of Vy are the sloped
lines. To find the ouput voltage from the transfer characteristics graph, find the intersection of the
two input voltages Vx and Vy. Then find the output by projecting the point of intersection over the
vertical axis. The scale factor, K is set to 1/10 which is basically the attenuation that reduces the
output by a fixed amount. This is adjustable but the typical value of 0.1 or 1/10.

Some basic applications of linear multiplier are multiplier, squaring circuit, divide circuit,
square root circuit, and mean square circuit. Figure 17-13 shows the illustration of a multiplier. It
basically multiply two voltages.

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Amplitude modulation is basically a multiplication process. From the Figure 17-18, we can
see that the carrier signal and the modulation signal are the inputs to the amplitude modulator
which basically a multiplier. Therefore, the output voltage is the input voltage multiplied by the
voltage gain.

For example, if the gain of an amplifier is made to vary sinusoidally at a certain frequency,
and an input signal is applied at a higher frequency, the output signal will have higher frequency.
However the amplitude will vary according to the variation in gain as shown in the figure.
Therefore, amplitude modulation is basically a multiplication process. This is shown in Figure 1719.

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For this part of the study our aim is to describe and discuss the function of a mixer, AM
demodulator, IF amplifiers, and Audio amplifiers
The basic property of the mixer is that it is actually a linear multiplier whose output is not
directly proportional to its input but to the product of its inputs. The mixer changes the frequency
of a signal to another value. It takes the incoming modulated RF signal along with the signal from
the local oscillator and produces a modulated signal containing not only the original frequency but
also the frequencies equal to the difference and sum of its two input frequencies.

Figure 1. Operation of a mixer

AM Demodulation
Demodulation is the process of separating or extracting the modulation from a signal. A
demodulator is an electronic circuit used to recover the information content from a modulated
carrier wave. An AM signal consists of a carrier which acts as a reference.
When demodulating a signal, there are two steps to be considered. First is to create a
baseband signal and second is to use a filer. A basic AM demodulator is shown in figure 1. It is
composed of a linear multiplier to create the baseband signal and a low pass filter to remove any
unwanted high frequency elements from the demodulation process. The critical frequency of the
filter is the highest audio frequency that is required for a given application. For figure 1, the critical
frequency is set to 15 kHz.

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Figure 2. Basic AM demodulator

IF and Audio amplifiers

IF amplifiers are used to raise the signal level to a level that can be used by a given circuit
to properly utilize the received information. It provides amplification of the modulated IF signal
out of the mixer before it is applied to the demodulator. In a receiver, it is a tuned amplifier with a
specified bandwidth operating at a center frequency of 455 kHz for AM and 10.7 MHz for FM set
to operate at a single resonant frequency that remains the same over the entire band of carrier
frequencies that can be received. Audio amplifiers on the other hand are used in a receiver system
to provide amplification of the recovered audio signal. As seen in figure 3, it is connected following
the detector to drive the speaker.

Figure 3. Audio amplifier in a receiver system

Audio amplifiers typically have bandwidths of 3 kHz to 15 kHz depending on the

requirement of the system. An example of this device is the LM386 audio amplifier which
operates from any dc supply voltage in the 4V to 12V range, making it a good choice for battery
Problem Solving

Determine the output voltage for a four-quadrant linear multiplier whose transfer
characteristics is given in Figure 17-8. The input voltages are Vx = -2 V and Vy = +10 V.
If a 455 kHz IF modulated by a 1 kHz audio frequency is demodulated, what frequency
or frequencies appear on the output of the demodulator?

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Modulation: A carrier (high frequency signal; usually sinusoidal) is modified by a modulating
signal (voice, video/digital signal, audio, etc.) This can be done using either amplitude modulation
or frequency modulation.
AM versus FM
Amplitude Modulation: Variations in the modulating signal changes the value of the carrier signal
amplitude, with the frequency (of the carrier) being held constant.
Frequency Modulation: Carrier frequency varies according to the state of the modulating signal.

Figure 4. Frequency Modulation of a signal.

Figure 1 shows the basic frequency modulation of a signal. The frequency of the carrier signal
increases/decreases from its normal value, with the deviation controlled by the amplitude of the
modulating signal. In terms of amplitude, an increasing modulating signal raises the carrier
frequency above the normal value. A decreasing modulating signal likewise decreases the carrier
frequency. These relationships does not always hold true, as the reverse relationships can also be
applied. The amount of variation to normal value of the carrier frequency is referred to as the
frequency deviation. Maximum deviation is then observed during the maximum amplitude of the
modulating signal.
On the other hand, the frequency of the modulating signal determines the rate at which frequency
deviations occur, or how many times (per second) the carrier frequency increases/decreases from
its normal value. So for a modulating signal of a 1 kHz sine wave, the carrier frequency varies
1000 times per second.

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Basic Frequency Modulator

Figure 5. VCO as a frequency modulator

A frequency modulated (FM) signal can be produced from a carrier signal by using a voltagecontrolled oscillator. Recall that the frequency generated by a VCO is determined by the input
voltage. For an input voltage that varies over time (e.g. sine wave), the resulting signal is then
frequency modulated, as shown above.

Advantages and Disadvantages of FM (as compared to AM)


Noise Immunity the presence of limiter circuits in an FM receiver, majority of noise

levels are attenuated, resulting to a stable output.
Capture Effect another benefit due to the limiters, interfering signals possessing the same
frequency as the FM signal are rejected. Out of two or more FM signals that are present
simultaneously, only the strongest signal persists.
Transmitter Efficiency linear amplifiers are not needed, since FM signals exhibit constant
amplitude (as oppose to AM signals).


Excessive Spectrum Use the wider bandwidth of FM signals occupies more spectrum
space, giving way to unnecessary bandwidths.
Complex Circuitry circuits use in frequency modulation and demodulation are more
complex than the basic circuits needed in AM. FM transmission ICs has so far solved this

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Demodulation: The process of extracting the original modulating signal from a modulated signal
(also known as detection). Demodulator circuits accepts the modulated signal, and outputs the
modulating signal used for modulation.
Some Frequency Demodulation methods:

Slope Detection
Phase-Shift Discrimination
Radio Detection
Quadrature Detection
Phase-locked Loop Demodulation

Demodulation using Phase-locked Loops (PLLs) is one of the widespread methods used for such
purposes. In addition to demodulation, PLLs are also used in other communication applications
such as TV receivers, tone decoder, telemetric receiver, modems, data synchronizers, etc.
Basic PLL Concepts
The phase-locked loop is a frequency-sensitive feedback circuit consisting of three basic
components: the phase detector, a low-pass filter, and a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO).

Figure 6. Block diagram of a Phase-locked loop.

The phase detector is used to compare the input (incoming signal Vin), with the VCO signal (Vc).
The output from the phase detector is then filtered (low pass), becoming proportional to the phase
difference between Vin and Vc. Filtering is done to rid the signal of high-frequency noise. The
filtered signal is then fed to the VCO, where it forces the VCO output to have the same frequency
with the input. The PLL finishes synchronization when the input and the VCO output attains the
same frequency. Any changes in the input frequency modifies the VCO output. To use the PLL as
a frequency demodulator, we only need to provide an FM signal as the PLL input. In this case, the
PLL will produce an output (VCO output) having the same frequency as the FM input, which is
basically the modulating signal of the FM input.

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The LM565 phase-locked loop

The LM565 is a general-purpose PLL IC consisting of a phase detector, a low pass filter (which is
formed by and internal resistor and an external capacitor), a VCO, and an amplifier. These are
indeed the basic PLL components, with an added amplifier to allow operation for small input
signals. The standard operating frequency ranges from 0.001 Hz up to 500 kHz.

Figure 7. PLL LM565 internal diagram.

As mentioned, the LM565 can be used as an FM demodulator by introducing an FM input to the

phase detector, and the VCO output must be fed back to the phase detector. The integrated circuit
outputs the demodulated signal after the VCO output matches the FM input frequency.

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1. Floyd, T. L., Electronic Devices 7th Edition (International). 2005
2. Frenzel, L. E., Principles of Electronic Communication Systems 3rd Edition. 2008
3. Amplitude modulation AM demodulation. Retrieved from
Images Retrieved from:

Electronic Devices 7th Edition (Floyd). Chapter 17 Communication Circuits.

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